Gaza Ceasefire Talks Continue in Doha Amid Looming Famine

Wed Mar 20 2024
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DOHA: Ceasefire negotiations between representatives from Israel, Hamas and mediators from Qatar, the US, and Egypt have entered their third day in Doha, Qatar’s capital, amidst cautious optimism but existing doubts about the prospects of a breakthrough, Al Jazeera reported.

At a press briefing on Tuesday, a spokesperson for the Qatari Foreign Ministry stated that while it is premature to expect a significant breakthrough, there is a sense of cautious optimism regarding the ongoing talks. The discussions in Doha are primarily focused on ceasefire arrangements and efforts to increase the flow of humanitarian aid into the besieged Gaza Strip.

Mossad chief David Barnea, leading the Israeli delegation, briefly returned to Tel Aviv on Tuesday to participate in a war cabinet meeting. Discussions during the meeting centered on proposals and counterproposals exchanged during the ceasefire talks in Doha. However, an unnamed senior Israeli official expressed doubt about the likelihood of reaching a deal, questioning whether Hamas leader Yahya Sinwar genuinely seeks an agreement or is merely prolonging negotiations.

Gaza Population on Brink of Famine

Meanwhile, the World Bank Group has issued a stark warning about the dire humanitarian situation in Gaza, stating that over half of the Palestinian population in the region, including vulnerable groups such as children and the elderly, are on the brink of famine, as reported by TRT World.

Urgent action is deemed imperative by the World Bank Group to avert a humanitarian catastrophe in Gaza. The organization has called for immediate, unimpeded access to medical supplies, food, and essential services for the people of Gaza.

In December, the World Bank Group allocated $35 million in funds to support development partners operating in Gaza, including UNICEF, the World Food Program (WFP), and the World Health Organization (WHO). These funds aim to provide vital assistance to hundreds of thousands of Palestinians in need, including food parcels and vouchers.

Despite international appeals for increased humanitarian aid, less than half of the planned UN aid convoys for Gaza’s hunger-stricken northern region have been facilitated by Israeli authorities this month, according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).

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